toronto home prices

Toronto is now officially the most expensive city in Canada for houses

Step aside, Vancouver; your reign as the site of Canada's most expensive housing market has finally come to an end. Congratulations. Love, Toronto.

P.S. Can you please take your crown back? We don't actually want it.

A new report from RBC Economics has bestowed upon Toronto a title that's as prestigious among investors as it is reviled among people in search of even moderately-affordable homes: "The priciest market in the country."

Yes, after decades of dominating property values from the west coast, Vancouver has quietly slipped below the threshold for the top spot on Canada's list of the least-affordable cities in which to live.

"It seemed as one of those unshakable facts that Vancouver reigns supreme as Canada's priciest market. It's been so for such a long time (decades!) and by such a wide margin. Not anymore. Toronto took that crown last month," reads the report, published by RBC's Robert Hogue on Friday.

"Early reports from local real estate boards showed Toronto's composite MLS HPI benchmark ($1.260 million) edging out Vancouver's ($1.255 million) in January. It's a stunning development though not entirely surprising considering how hot the Toronto-area market has become, especially since the fall."

He speaks the truth, as anyone even who has even considered purchasing a home in the 6ix recently can tell you (at length, if you'll listen to us.)

It might sound nice for Toronto to surpass Vancouver and win a national ranking, but this isn't one locals are celebrating.

Similar to the findings of a TD report published last month, in which economists warn of this very situation, RBC found that home prices simply haven't been rising as fast in Vancouver lately as they have been in Toronto.

That's not to say that property values aren't consistently skyrocketing in both cities.

"Toronto's benchmark price soared over the past five months, including a mind-blowing 4.3% monthly increase—or nearly $52,000—in January alone. Vancouver prices have accelerated as well, just not to the same extent," reads the report.

Vancouver's historically low inventory levels continue to drive up prices, sparking aggressive bidding wars and bringing the MLS HPI composite benchmark price to a new high of $1.255 million in January.

Toronto is similarly suffering from "scarce inventories," as Hogue puts it, making for fierce competition between buyers and pushing prices up to a new benchmark of $1.260 million.

"Intense bidding wars have pushed prices to new heights both in level and rate of increase (33.3%)," writes Hogue of Toronto. "Buyers are especially fond of single-family homes (prices are up an astounding 36% y/y, with gains exceeding 40% in Durham and Peel regions) but also increasingly interested in condos (prices up 26% y/y)."

Like most other experts on the matter, RBC's economists aren't forecasting much change to these patterns in the near future... though higher interest rates may gradually cool things down later this year. A little bit.

Lead photo by

Kevin A.


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